Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Factfulness is the most impactful book I've ever read.

It's about making decisions based on facts rather than feelings and setting a few common misconceptions straight. Such as that the world is going to shit (we've been doing great in reducing worldsuck), violence is increasing (it's not), that most people on the planet don't get vaccinated (globally, 90% of one-year-olds have some vaccination), etc. It provides practical methods to understand better how things work, for example the graph of world population growing exponentially in the past century is something that looks unsustainable, but the truth is that it's slowing down (I think many people know this nowadays, the book is already showing its age two years down the road) and that families are getting smaller when health increases, irrespective of religion or geographical location.

Of course, we have an absolute emergency regarding our CO2 emissions and the ongoing 6th extinction event, that's not what this book is about. The book just shows we've been doing great and how to get a better sense of reality and what's important. I think it's a positive and helpful foundation for putting the current status of humans on this planet into perspective.

In fact I think it would be really good if everyone did read this book. I've made a preview that includes part of the first chapter that you can use to make a decision whether this book is something for you, send me an email if you want to take a look (not sharing publicly because it's in the grey area of fair use). I'm also willing to help with the purchasing price if you can't afford it, somehow non English versions are twice as expensive. Note that I have zero affiliation with the author or anything, I just think everyone should read this material.

-----

On the fiction side, The Martian is my all time favorite. It's very entertaining, clever, and even educative if you like to learn about space stuff.

If you enjoy that, you'll probably also enjoy The Expanse (last, 9th, book is coming out next winter probably).

A little bit further out but also a similar genre are the books from Daniel Suarez, all of which I can recommend as well, though not all of his books are from the last decade.

Edit: just found another comment about factfulness, it's accurate: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21902411




This is the first I heard of Factfulness, but I have heard some similar arguments before. My question though, is: does it really matter? Are people in the Rust Belt going to be mollified by the revelation that, on average globally, life is much better? Or are they going to compare themselves with their parents and conclude that the world is going to hell regardless of what the averages say? Is the latter response unreasonable? These questions seem to be of urgent import in many democracies around the world.




Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: